Wilmington Fire Department

Mission: To work in partnership with the citizens of Wilmington in an effort to provide an effective and professional response to all man-made or natural hazards with well-trained emergency services personnel to provide a safe environment and enhanced quality of life for all.

The Fire Department Is...

The City's 3rd largest department with a total FY 2023 General Fund budget of $22,966,789.

It accounts for 13% of the General Fund.

About the Fire Department

The Wilmington Fire Department is a career, professional fire department established in 1921. The department currently maintains six engine companies, two ladder companies, and a marine firefighting force. The department is divided into two functional divisions, each under the command of a Deputy Chief: the Operations Division and the Fire Prevention Division.

In recent years, the department has promoted a ride-along program, which gives city residents an opportunity to experience the functions of the fire department and evaluate possible career decisions. In addition, department officials have shown their commitment to providing the best emergency services delivery through the promotion of continuous training, active involvement with community associations, and implementation of a Customer Satisfaction Survey.

FY 2023 Year-to-Date Expenditures by Division*

*Move the slider at the bottom of the graph to see budget and prior-year data.

FY 2023 Year-to-Date Expenditures by Category*

*Move the slider at bottom of the graph to see budget and prior-year data.

How Many People Work for the Fire Department?

Fire Department Strategic Plan

Citywide Goal: Enhance City Services

The Department works to ensure a four-minute response time to structural fires, a national standard. In addition, the Department strives to confine all fires to the room of origin, which significantly reduces damage to the affected structure and adjoining properties. Adequate response times by highly-trained personnel play a key role in saving lives and preserving property.


Achieve an emergency response to structural fires from dispatch to arrival of four minutes for the first arriving unit per National Fire Protection Agency Standard 1710 (NFPA 1710).


Keep at least 90% of structural fires confined to the room of origin.


Reduce civilian fire-related deaths to zero.


Reduce civilian fire-related injuries to zero.

Citywide Goal: Promote Professionalism

The Department is striving to promote professionalism and enhance public safety by ensuring that all firefighters are well trained and in peak physical condition. The implementation of a physical fitness program and an injury reduction program will help promote a healthy, well-prepared workforce while also reducing time off for sickness and injury. The implementation of an officer development program training course will allow for effective training of our officer ranks to an accepted National Standard. This program, the National Board on Fire Service Qualification, will train our personnel to better prepare them to become effective administrative and fire ground officers.


Increase the number of building inspections performed by the Department.


Clear 100% of violations found during building inspections.


Implement a physical fitness training program for firefighters with 100% participation.


Reduce the total number of injuries sustained annually by firefighters.


Ensure all Battalion Chiefs, Captains and Lieutenants Complete Fire Officer I Training.


Ensure all Battalion Chiefs, Captains and Lieutenants Complete Fire Officer II Training.


Achieve and maintain a 7-working-day turnaround time for the review of plans permitting process.

Citywide Goal: Inspire Young People to Achieve Success

Objective: Increase the number of youth participating in the Fire Explorer Program

Involving youth with the Fire Department Explorer Program will assist young people ages 14-20 to possibly chose a career in the emergency services field. The Explorer program gives young people a positive experience and teaches them about the fire and emergency medical fields. Leadership, respect, honor and commitment are the core values of the Wilmington Fire Department Explorer Post 100.

Six members of the Wilmington Fire Department Explorer Post 100 have been hired as Wilmington Firefighters over the past several years.

Fire Department FY 2023 Annual Budget

Total FY 2023 General Fund Budget: $22,966,789

Total FY 2022 General Fund Budget: $22,735,572

Total Increase from FY 2022: $231,217


Major Funding Changes from Prior Year:

Personal Services decreased by a net $149,577 because of the following changes:

  • Salaries and Wages are budgeted to increase by $756,042. Regular Salaries are up $374,682 as per the IAFF Local 1590 contract and mandatory step increases. In addition, Overtime has been increased by $370,000 to better reflect prior year actuals and ensure minimum staffing requirements are met while avoiding the use of rolling bypass.
  • Total Employee Benefits are down $373,434. City-sponsored pensions are budgeted to decrease by $483,069, due in large part to an increase of $475,037 in State Pension Contribution passthrough (which acts as an offset to the City pension contribution requirements). In addition, the rate for the County and Municipal Police / Fire pension declined from FY 2022, for a savings of $460,411.

The Materials Supplies & Equipment (MS&E) account group increased by a total of $216,441 largely because of the following changes:

  • Wearing Apparel and Safety is up $100,873 across all lines. With State grant funding no longer available, costs related to the upcoming rookie class had to be absorbed by the General Fund, including $91,476 for protective gear and $11,000 for new uniforms.
  • Registration Fees are budgeted to increase by $70,320. $31,820 of this increase is due to the cost of the rookie class hiring process, which was previously funded with a State grant. In addition, $17,000 was added for biennial EMT certification renewal, and $7,500 was added to provide additional driver training.

Click here to read more about the Fire Department's FY 2023 Budget.